Mexico City: A Worldwide Example of Air Quality Improvement
In 1992, Mexico City was declared the city with poorest air quality in the world. Mexico City once had the worst rate of global pollution, and thus earned the nickname “The most dangerous city in the world for children.” However, an impressive improvement in recent years has managed to help reduce its emissions substantially. Mexico City is not among the top 20 most polluted cities in the world according the UN. In fact, according to this scale, Mexico City went from a score of 10, -the worst possible- to 5 today. These surprising results have been achieved through close cooperation of the authorities and society and have allowed Mexico City to become a healthier and enjoyable place for all.
Some measures that have been taken have involved great effort from the citizens. To achieve this results the “Hoy no Circula” Program was implemented, which for forbids citizens to use their car once a week. Also, a strict, challenging and, mandatory verification of vehicle emissions was implemented, as well as a mandatory school transportation program requiring parents to pay for school transport. Automobiles have also been restricted access to downtown and surrounding areas on weekends to enjoy the city in bicycles or other environment friendly transportation.
Other measures have required significant investment of government and taxpayers such as Metrobus, an innovative transportation system, that was awarded by Harvard University, and an ongoing effort to build 4 new subway lines, as well as building a network of suburban trains. The overall cost for the last 8 years to improve air quality in the city has required investments of $15 billion dollars, both public and private. Furthermore, Pemex plans to build a plant to produce low-sulfur gasoline, with a value of $ 9.3 billion.
Today, Mexico City is an example of commitment, transformation, and sustainable development for the rest of the world. We invite you to come and visit us soon and enjoy this transformation!